I was in middle school when the Oklahoma City bombing occurred. I remember being worried about family and friends back in Oklahoma (we were in Arizona at that point, but I was born and still have family in OK). I remember seeing pictures and wondering why someone would attack so many people they didn't know. It was my first encounter with terrorism, and I suppose it has shaded all of my perceptions of subsequent acts.
I was a sophomore in high school when Columbine happened. Overnight there were more restrictions on when, where and how people could travel through the halls, stigmas associated with the kids who wore trench coats were (falsely) validated, and all fire alarms were now suspect.
My freshman year of college four planes were hijacked, one crashed in PA, one into the Pentagon and two into the Twin Towers, on September 11th. Stripping is now a useful skill to pass through security quickly, toothpaste is considered a weapon, and yet somehow I made it through three different states' security checkpoints with a 4-inch pocket knife my Uncle had given me that I'd long forgotten about in the bottom pouch of my backpack.
A lot of the good memories seem to be lost in the frustration of the over-reactions to terrorism.
Maybe that's part of the reason why I am so excited for tomorrow. Tomorrow a person I spent hours researching, discussing and defending, volunteered weeks for and stood in line two hours to vote for will become the 44th president of the United States of America. I understand that Barack Obama is not perfect, that his vision and mine are not identical, but, until I am proven wrong, I believe that he will openly listen to my opinions and honestly consider my viewpoint. And, when it comes down to it, I am confident that he will make well-informed decisions, whether I agree with them or not. So, let's welcome the 44th president with our own eyes open, with a willingness to work hard, and above all to compromise.